Crate Training 101
Although some pet owners may view a dog crate as cruel or inhumane, it is actually quite the opposite. Dogs, as natural den dwellers, prefer small and enclosed spaces and feel safest when confined. For many dogs, after the crate training, it even becomes a safe haven, one that he or she readily retreats to when stressed out or ready for a nap. In this way, pet owners can think of a dog crate as a pet’s personal bedroom.
Crate training – Only Two days for most dogs
Crate training is a skill that can quickly be learned over the course of one or two days for most dogs. All that is required is a proper sized crate (if also using for potty training, be sure the crate is only large enough for the dog to stand up and turn around in), crate bedding (such as a blanket or cushion), and training treats. With the door to the crate open, call your dog to the crate and entice him to go inside by placing a few treats near the back. Do not close the door if he goes inside, but rather continue this process of positively reinforcing him every time he shows interest in the crate. Once your dog appears comfortable with the crate and will readily walk in and out, gently close the crate door. Immediately reward him with verbal praise and treats. As your dog becomes more comfortable with having the door closed, gradually build up the amount of time he spends in the crate. If your dog is not immediately comfortable with having the door closed, begin to feed him his meals in the crate with the door open. As he grows accustomed to crated meal time, work on being able to close the door for the duration of dinner. Eventually your dog will come to realise the crate is a welcome place.
To continue having your dog enjoy the crate, be sure to never use it as a form of punishment. If planning to crate your dog while you are away, consider giving him a treat-filled toy as a reward to keep him busy. The crate should only be associated with positivity.
Benefits of the Crate
Besides being useful when needing to have your dog in one place (such as when cleaning or cooking), crates have a number of additional benefits. If planning to have a party with many unfamiliar people who may not know the rules of the house or may be prone to leaving doors or yard gates open, crating your dog is a safe option. When travelling, crating your dog while in a car or air plane may be necessary. Additionally, anxious dogs can benefit from quiet crate time in order to decompress. Dogs that suffer from separation anxiety are often safest in a crate when the owner is gone, especially if prone to destructive tendencies. Finally, a crate is useful for the dog who seeks refuge from chaos, especially if the house is home to other pets or children. Overall, crate training is a worthwhile skill for all dogs, no matter size, breed, or age!